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SCI 1001 & SCI 1002: Writing and Research in the Sciences

This guide is here to help you with your research. Don't forget to reach out to a librarian at any time you need help!

Getting Started with Your Research

Sometimes the hardest thing about research is getting started. What can you research? Where can you find an idea for a topic? Is your research focus too large?  The videos and tutorials below give great insight into the research process, including developing a research focus, choosing a topic, and how to narrow a topic.

Background Information

The Importance of Background Information

Finding background information before writing your lab report is important, especially if you are unfamiliar with the subject area. Background information will give you a stronger foundation and understanding that will help you complete your writing assignments. Reference sources provide background information, which often includes:

  • A broad overview of the subject
  • Definitions of the topic
  • An introduction to key issues
  • Names of people who are authorities in the subject field
  • Major dates and events
  • Keywords and subject-specific vocabulary terms that can be used for database searches
  • Bibliographies that lead to additional resources

LSU Libraries has reference sources, such as online encyclopedias, covering many topics in the sciences. Because reference sources provide an overview of the topic, you will feel better prepared to discuss and to write about the topic and the general issues surrounding it after reading them.

Mind Mapping Your Topic

The link below will take you to an online research guide about how to use mind mapping to explore and expand your topic. Mind mapping can help you figure out what you already know about a topic and what else you'd like to know. It can also help with figuring out the direction you want to go with your topic and even what your research question might be! 

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